Geordi's BEST DAY 

Sharing some details about Geordi's BEST DAY, where he and handler Joshua Hargis of Summerwind Canines, went BEST IN SHOW at the Sierra-Tuolumne Kennel Club! 

The 2021 Sierra-Tuolumne Kennel Club shows were held in beautiful Angels Camp, CA, which was a one-time venue change for this club that we really enjoyed for the beautiful grounds and opportunity to visit a new local venue. We have always loved this club as one of the few remaining "local clubs" who still hold their show in their own territory, on their own. We had a special feeling about the 2021 show, remembering that our girl Nexpa had received a nice group placement there in 2017.

That weekend we showed Geordi's children, Bannister, Bodhi and Clover, all three of them out Alta. Bodhi finished his championship, so it was already a lucky weekend for us! We enjoyed time with friends from many breeds and Holly showed Icelandic Sheepdogs with friends.

Bodhi, above, finishing his championship under Bernese Mountain Dog breeder judge, Dawn Hitchcock.

On Saturday, we stayed for groups and watched Geordi. We watched along with a family visiting the show to check out the breed. When Geordi won the group, for the first time ever, under "dog show legend" Patricia Trotter, Holly was at first speechless, as she didn't really realize what was happening. Photographer Diana Han captured the pure joy of this amazing win, that caught us all by surprise.

Winning the group, at this show, under Pat Trotter, was really a dream come true, and we couldn't really imagine it getting much better. We were on CLOUD NINE and planned to stay there for a really long time, enjoying the thrill and the honor of this award. We had a lot of fun taking pictures, going to dinner and really enjoying a historic day, for us, at the dog show. 

The next day, we showed in the am, but Holly had to leave before groups, in order to drive to Oregon State, to pick up Alta who was being bred up there, and to also bring home one of Geordi's pups from another breeder. With the cell reception being poor on the drive home in the RV, Holly turned off the cell signal to make the phone work better for other tasks. At home, it was a big job to unpack the dogs, and repack for Oregon. Around 4 pm, she realized she didn't know the group results, and turned on the phone. The phone came to life. Group 1!!! What? must be mistake? Maybe a message from yesterday that had gotten stuck? Holly texted back Josh, "Better tell me again if this is true? Group 1 again today?" Then, congratulations started rolling in as we got in the van to drive to Oregon. Again, no cell service. Holly started to get a feeling that something funny was happening. This was an awful lot of congratulations! Finally, right when coverage started up again, she heard from friend Diana Han. Heartfelt congratations. So Holly asks, "Thank you! He won the group again, right?" And that is when we found out, "HE WON BEST!"

What?! At that moment our world changed. We were part of Swissy history. We were in disbelief, joy, shock, and so excited for the whole team! Some regrets bubbled up about not being there, but then just gratitude remained, to the judges, the friends cheering for us, everyone who congratulated us, and our handling team. We will never know if Geordi would have put on the same show with Holly present- during Best in Show on Saturday, he was a bit distracted. And, being there the whole time on Saturday, watching the first group win and his first appearance in Best in Show, plus watching Warren Cook's great BIS video from his win, gives me the feeling of always being there. We were part of his big day, and showed to the Group judge in breed with the pups, so we have strong memories of the entire experience.

Thank you to the judges that gave us the most amazing dog show weekend of our lives: Pat Trotter, Dawn Hitchcock, and Sidney Marx.

Above is the exact moment Josh figured out they had been selected for Best in Show! He is pretty surprised and happy!

A lot of people worked hard to support Geordi in winning Best in Show. Team Summerwind had three dogs in Best in Show that day, and Catrina Castro showed Flynn allowing Josh to show Geordi. We are grateful for the help! We also thank the Kennel Club for putting on such a nice event, as always, and providing fantastic prizes we will always treasure, and to our friend Yvonne Shanto, who sent us some of those early congrats (that we thought were for the group and didn't realize were for BIS) and customized our trophies with Geordi's name on them.

Summit Earns Her First AKC Title! 

We are so proud of Summit, from our RODEO E litter, who earned her CGC title on March 25, 2021, with her co-owners Julia and Kristi. Summit is Geordi's first offspring to earn an AKC title, and she is also already pointed towards her AKC Championship. Summit was only 11 months of age when earning her CGC title.

What is CGC? 

The AKC Canine Good Citizen™ (CGC) program is a two-part course designed to help you and your dog be the best you can be–together. Since 1989, over 1 million dogs and their owners have participated in CGC, mastering ten basic skills that instill confidence and good manners in and out of your home. 

Not only does CGC training create long-lasting trust between you and your pup, but also ensures you’ll be good neighbors and friends to everyone around you—and, if you’re interested in going beyond the basics, CGC also lays the foundation for other AKC sports and activities like obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events.

Geordi Ranks In the Top 10 of All Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs for 2020 

We are so proud of our Lt Commander Geordi La Forge! For the second year in a row, for 2020, he finished "ranked" in the "Top 20" of all Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, according to all official dog show stats. And, for the first time, he also ranked in the Top 10. He finished #4 "All-Breed" rankings, and #10 "Breed Rankings".

Geordi also knocked our socks off by placing 2nd in working group under respected judge Robert Shreve. This was his first AKC group placement, and an impressive one at that! He defeated over 200 dogs, and for the entire day, was only defeated by one dog - the best in show winner!


We are pleased to announce a successful natural breeding between our two Grand Champion Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Geordi and Nexpa! Both of these dogs are large, heavy boned, heavy coated dogs that are exceptional examples of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, in every way. We are very excited to see what this litter will bring, due April 15, 2020

A quick ultrasound done for confirmation of pregnancy and not for counting easily showed 6+ puppies, but we will have to wait for the tax man to tell us the final return. 

It's been awhile since we had a litter bigger than 1 puppy here at RODEO, so we have some interest built up. Also, with the workload at hand, both the "regular" crushing tax season and the extra work due to the COVID 19 impact on our business Yosemite Stay, we aren't able to do many personal updates at this time. We will focus any extra time on Nexpa's prenatal care and monitoring. 

We are still accepting applications, but until we know the litter size, and also the genders of puppies, its hard for us to tell how many more homes we may be considering. The best plan is to go ahead and apply, if you have not already. And, unless we have been in touch in the last few days, you should also reply to let us know if anything has changed, and if you are still interested in this litter. 

We still plan to breed Nexpa's daughter Alta soon, as well as we expect to have three puppies to place from outside breedings, as our boys have been siring litters for other breeders and we will be bringing puppies home from those litters to place with our applicants. 

Keep an eye on our website for updates, on the puppy page, and also at Contact Us, to see if our dogs will be out at any shows.


2019 NOHS Series Wrap Up 

The AKC's 2019 National Owner-Handled Series is wrapping up. There are a few days left in the series and no dog shows in California, so this completes our participation for the 2019 year. The dogs in the Top 10 for the country will get an invitation to the AKC National Championships in Orlando, Florida, held in December 2019. Our very own Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge is sitting in the #6 spot for now, so we expect that he will earn an invitation.

Finishing his championship in early June, Geordi was only able to fully participate in this series for 4 out of the 12 months. He placed in the Owner-Handled Groups 6 times, out of a total of 10 times attending. He placed 2nd three times, 3rd twice, and 4th once. We are elated that he could do so well, and at under 21 months old, and to make the top 10 in such a short amount of time. Thank you to all the judges who recognized our young pup!

Lake Shore and GSMDCA Regional Specialties, Grayslake IL, June 2018 

So incredible proud of our girls performance at these three specialty shows. Ring photos in this post are by Debbie Fields. Thank you to judges John Constantine-Amodei, Adrian Woodfork, and Evie Sullivan for recognizing our girls. And also (no win photo) thank you to James Donahue for the Best in Sweeps win with Alta puppy. Pixley was beautifully handled in the BOB class by Erin Myers (and by me in the puppy sweepstakes).

Girls Day in Torrance August 2017 

I guess Josh was the odd man out, because we had a "girls day" in Torrance this year on Sunday, August 13, 2017.

Showing to judge Denise Dean, a Bernese Mountain Dog breeder-judge, Nexpa was Best of Breed and her niece Pixley was Winners Bitch for her first AKC point!

Nexpa was handled by Jean Gauchat-Hargis, and Josh Hargis was the only guy in our winning line up, showing Pixley. I was at home escorting puppies from Nexpa's June litter to their new families and missed out on the show this year. Thank you judge Denise Dean for these awards for our girls.


Considering a Swissy? 

When looking to add a dog like a Swissy- a rare breed that requires you to work with a breeder to find and bring home a puppy- there is a lot to know. Here are some points and some HOT TIPS

First, it’s a good idea to figure out, Is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Right for You
Please read this article, by our friend Karen Conant, who has been in the breed for over 20 years. 

Next, consider timing for bringing home any dog, and other matters that you will be deciding like puppy raising and training. We love the book, The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete. It’s an “oldie but a goodie”. The best time to read the book is before you have your little biter at home, so you can spend the most time getting ready to raise her to be a terrific family member. 

Jeff teaching puppies to wait, and eat from their own bowls- 7 weeks old

In selecting a breeder, do research on questions to ask breeders. If you use Facebook, there is a FANTASTIC group called “Finding a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog”. The focus is on helping people find the dog that they really want. If you don't use Facebook, maybe you can still read the page? We don't know. Worth trying. If you read the files in this group, you will find some aspect(s) of our breeding program might differ slightly. So, ask us about it! We will answer honestly. The information and lists are a collaboration from a number of breeders (including us) and there are differences of opinion, naturally. 

'Finn' gets individual car ride training- 6 weeks old

Finally: the real point of this post is us! Ok, just kidding, but we want you to know What breeders look for, and what We are looking for in you. We get between 4-10 times more applications per litter as the number of puppies available. You are all GREAT, but we have to find some way to choose who will get one of our puppies. The decisions are not scientific; we try to make the best guess on who will provide the best life for our babies. We love these puppies so much and from our perspective, all that matters is picking the best home for them, not how badly YOU want them. It’s very hard for us to turn people down – the dogs bring so much love to our lives. Its somewhat uncomfortable that we become the “decider” in whether YOU bring home some of that love. But, we have to make these hard choices. 

This is not exhaustive, but I would like to give everyone some ideas, including some HOT TIPS, on what we are looking for: 

#1 is commitment. We want people who are committed to the dog for its life. Without a crystal ball, we try to predict commitment based on: previous experience with the breed, raising dogs in general, living with big dogs, past dogs raised and commitment to them, and time invested in researching the breed and making relationship with us and other Swissy people. If you don't know much about the dogs and breed, how can you even be sure of your own commitment level? 

Care: financial/mental resolve to provide the best possible care including high quality food, training, medical care including insurance, the best approach to medical like not over-vaccinating, not de-sexing too soon, the best care for day, to day living, for vacations, etc. Again, we are trying to guess the future, so we base this on interviews, your stated plans, our perception of your attitude towards care topics, and evidence of financially ability to provide these things. 

Lifestyle: these are family members. We try to intuit who also sees the dogs as family, the same way we do. For example, you hear us saying things like, “four people” were in the room, and then…." and you look around and see 2 people and 2 dogs. Our dogs live inside with us, and the time spent outside is part of their lives, but not their whole lives. It also means the dog has the environment they need to grow into a happy healthy dog, a safe place when you are gone, a good place to move their bodies at home when not on outings (an adequate fenced area at home), a safe arrangement to ride in a safe car, a home structure that is safe (usually an owned home without excessive stairs, or a stair management understanding for growing dogs) and an approach that properly considers the dogs' mental and physical needs. We think of our dogs needs before our own- because they trust us to care for them and we decide when they eat, (and what and how much), when they get to go outside, who they get to play with, where they will spend their days, pretty much every step of their lives' dance - so we need to do right by them and honor that trust they have in us to choose wisely.

Nexpa (left) visits 1/2 brother Griz in Colorado! Sharing her favorite toy for a game.

Connection: your puppy is our family its entire life. If we send puppy home with you and never hear from you again, we grieve the loss of that relationship. We worry about puppy and its life. We are able to share help and advice, and freely provide this when asked by our puppy families, to help you nurture the puppy through all sorts of life situations. When we hear about people going through a situation that could have been easily solved if they had just TOLD us or ASKED us about it, we are sad. Show us that you know it takes a village and that you won’t leave and try solve everything on your own, wasting our 15 years of experience, along with our access to decades more experience through our mentors--At the expense of your puppies own experience. They are the ones that are missing out when that happens, not just you. 

So, you read this far and now you get the promised HOT TIPS. If you have already met us at a dog event, you are ahead of the game. We are most comfortable with people who make a noticeable effort to meet us and/or other Swissies. The more time you invest in the process, the more seriously we consider your application. As you can tell, the above goals are intangible- it’s hard to know. So, we use this EFFORT EXPENDED scale as one way to make our best guess. That is why it’s a good idea to attend a dog show (or two or three) even if you don’t plan to show your dogCheck our show schedule HERE. We belong to a club that organizes events (Golden State Calendar of Events). So, take a look, plan some events, and when you are sure you are attending, let us know so we can make some connections for you with people who will attend. Swissy owners are great people! You will love meeting them. Then, let us know you went! Send a photo of you with some dogs you met. Ask some questions that such an event will bring up for you, after meeting new people and dogs. 

You are the winner in this process. You will meet great people and dogs and further understand what would be best for your family. You will make connections with other breeders and people who got dogs from other breeders, which may even lead you in another direction, or provide a backup should we not have a puppy for you. So, you have everything to gain from this process.


RODEO's All About Bustin' Outta the Brig 'Brig' - Herald Family Nov 2015

Waiting To Spay and Neuter 

Recent studies have shown that neutering can have an adverse effect on the health of a dog. To further delve into this new information, a team of researchers at UC Davis recently examined the veterinary records of 759 Golden Retrievers for hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumor. The dogs were grouped as intact, neutered before 12 months of age or neutered after 12 months of age. 

The study revealed that the disease rates were significantly higher in both males and females that were neutered both before and after 12 months of age. Early neutering was associated with an increased incidence of hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear and lymphosarcoma in males and of cranial cruciate ligament tear in females. Neutering after 12 months of age was associated with an increased risk of mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma in females. 

The most notable results from this study include a doubled risk of hip dysplasia among males neutered before 12 months of age and the increased risk of mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma in dogs neutered after 12 months. Previous studies reported only a 17% increase in risk of hip dysplasia in neutered dogs and this is the first study to report an increased risk of cancer in dogs neutered late. 

Of the five diseases measured, the study reported that: 

There were no cases of cranial cruciate ligament rupture diagnosed in intact males or females, but in early-neutered males and females the occurrences were 5% and 8%, respectively 

Almost 10% of early-neutered males were diagnosed with lymphosarcoma, 3 times more than intact males 
The percentage of hemangiosarcoma cases in late-neutered females (about 8%) was 4 times more than intact and early-neutered females 
There were no cases of mast cell timor in intact females, but the occurrence was nearly 6% in late-neutered females 
Of early-neutered males, 10% were diagnosed with hip dysplasia, double the occurrence in intact males. 

Studies like this are just one piece of the overall picture, but we are finding more and more reasons to require that our puppies are neutered after 20 months for females and after their first heat and after 24 months for males.

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